Labor Day, the Kochs and how you thank oil companies for ripping you off.
Oh, thank you Lord, thank you Lord. My local paper just headlined the wondrous Labor Day weekend news that the giant petroleum monopolies have just gifted U.S. motorists with teeny-weeny gas prices that will undoubtedly fuel a surge in holiday travel over Saturday and Sunday. At least that’s the story in my home state of South Carolina and it’s carrying over to most other states as well.
Of course South Carolina, true to most categories, ranks the lowest in the country for gas prices. CNN business pegs the average price for a gallon of petrol at $3.17 a gallon in the Palmetto state, compared to the national average of $3.44.
I get a kick out of how stupid most consumers truly are, including myself on numerous occasions. We cheer loudly for gas prices that are a pure rip-off across the board; be they $3.17 or $3.44 for this weekend. One of the best ways to gauge if you’re paying too much for a product is to check out the major players and see how they’re doing revenue and profit-wise. Then you look at the product price over time. Has it leveled off? Has it gone down? Has it increased? You shouldn’t be paying a penny over $2.00 a gallon for gas. And the biggies will still make a fortune.
Now, this is going to require a little mental discipline on your part. Various apologists for the giant oil interests point out that determining the price at the pump is a very complicated process; much too complicated for us dummies forced to buy this monopoly product. Oil giants bray about gas taxes involved on both the state and national levels. The latter, 18.4 cents a gallon hasn’t budged in the last 21 years. States come in at about 24 cents for the vast majority of drivers. So, let’s make 42 cents of that gallon the fault of those horrible tax monsters.
The rest of the costs according to Department of Energy figures involve distribution and marketing, 11%; refining, another 11% and “crude oil” constituting 66-68% of the costs of your gallon of gas. Conservatively, a barrel yields roughly a piddling 19 gallons of gas as pointed out by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the barrel goes to such high-profit items as distillate and residual fuel oils, jet fuel and petroleum coke or “petcoke.” A barrel of oil could produce many hundreds, even thousands of gallons of gas if need be. So, by the judicious division of distribution of products from that barrel, the oil companies can call whatever profit at the pump they desire. That doesn’t even take into consideration how much they choose to keep in storage at the refinery and not bother selling until the price points hit the desired level. Yeah, it’s complicated all right.
Petcoke is a wonderful polluter and the Koch brothers once stacked this crap up in a three-story pile near the Detroit River. Chicago was also a victim of Koch’s toxic material with a mile and a half of long black piles on the shores of the Calumet River near residential areas. The subsequent dust clouds impacting the health, especially respiratory, of the locals. The Koch brothers didn’t care one wit.
Petcoke is also a climate poisoning byproduct of extracting tar sands. You want to destroy the planet completely? Just follow the Koch brothers CO2 tar sands petcoke lead. These two, should be investigated for hundreds, if not thousands of deaths through their thoughtless business practices of destroying the planet.
The Washington Post, as quoted in the Climate section of ThinkProgress, reports that the Koch brothers’ hold leases on 1.1 million tar sands acres, just waiting for the extraction process to release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. They finance fancy creative arts facilities and programs to hold off the incredibly lazy elitist progressives who will take the easy blood booty from the Kochs, while the brothers remain more dangerous than any other pair of human beings I can think of. But nobody of equal stature has the guts to take them on.
Under no circumstances would I darken the Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballot, the Met, the New York Philharmonic or any other integral creative endeavor that makes up Lincoln Center until their management and board renounces the Koch money that they could have easily turned away. Any artists that perform on any Lincoln Center stage has the stain of giving his or her tacit approval to being purchased outright, no matter the consequences of the donor’s hateful undertakings. Every penny you put in the coffers of Lincoln Center is a reflection of your selfishness or simple indifference to really horrific people.
Oh yeah, and the five biggest oil companies pulled in just short of $100 billion in profits last year. That’s profits and still we give them tax credits while the companies do everything in their power to avoid whatever miniscule taxes they’re expected to pay.
Something is really catawampus in our society. This commentary will excite nobody to action. I’ll probably get all kinds of hell for despising the Koch brothers and the Republicans will continue to turn their backs on the needy and suck up to the true corporate dirt-bags that are ruining a once noble Democratic experiment in fairness and reason.
I do want to end on a positive note. I want to extend my respect and appreciation for the hard working men and women who labor for little money, but who take great pride in their contributions to America. Thank you and have a great Labor Day
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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